The road: our second date

by Jennifer on April 30, 2009

All photos, click to enlarge

You know you’re going to have a good time with a road when you see a sign like this, right off:


Mountain Grades

Next 37 Miles

Ohhh, yeah.

I mean, if a road wants you to go all the way, it can’t just lie there, all flat and emotionless, with no soul, no moves. Right? It’s got to give you something back.

So let’s call that road sign our first kiss.

I set out this morning on my drive with a vague endpoint in mind. This wasn’t my first time on this road (the Old Apache Trail, or Hwy 88) but I wanted to go farther this time than I did the last. I mean, it was our second date, and all. My first time out, I turned around at Tortilla Flat, a tiny (pop. 6) town just past Canyon Lake. From everything I’d read, I thought that the paved part of the road would end right after Tortilla Flat, so I didn’t try to go beyond, thinking I would come back with the Jeep and finish the route with 4-wheel drive. (When the pavement ends, it’s a graded road, but I’d still like to take the Jeep.)

But today (still Jeep-less, since the transmission needs some attention)  I wanted more. After Tortilla Flat, I bumped over the uneven pavement where flash floods  wash over the road. Then the pavement  smoothed out and pulled me forward through scenery that made good on every promise I’d heard about its beauty.

It went on for miles, a sweet tease of curves and hairpin turns and rising elevation. Mountains and mountains and mountains. Vast spaces spread out from a thin twist of road.

The kind of road that lets you know right off that guard rails are for sissies.

I saw a lot of these…

And I took this photo just because I could frame one arrow sign behind the other.

There was more traffic than I expected on a Wednesday morning, but even so I could look ahead and behind most of the time  and not see another car (I love that, on any road). When I pulled off to take photos, all I could hear was the buzz and hum of bees (it’s the end of wildflower season here, but the flowering trees were full of bees), and the random calls of birds I couldn’t name. Turkey vultures and hawks dragged their shadows over the ground like brooms.

But for birds and bees, it was quiet. Quiet that I needed. I can’t imagine needing much else when you’re looking at this.

I’m pretty sure this road is a keeper. Good looking (allow the understatement), quiet, entertaining, and comfortable with my need for solitude. And made my heart race, like crazy. I can’t think of a downside.

Here’s where I turned around…

and where we’ll pick up on our next date. Me, the Jeep, that road. And next time? I’m going all the way.

I’d like to thank my Blackberry for filling in for the camera that’s gone missing. The photo quality wasn’t always great, but the Blackberry held its own.

If you’d like to see more photos, here’s the link to my Flickr set: Apache Trail


I want you all to know how much I appreciated your kind and supportive comments on my last post. My thanks and gratitude – they come from the heart.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Madge April 30, 2009 at 5:53 am

I love that you do this. That you take the time to go for these drives.

Daryl April 30, 2009 at 6:18 am

Now I want a jeep .. a car .. a way to escape .. just going to get beautified™ doesnt cut it after reading this

Green Girl April 30, 2009 at 10:29 am

Wow, that’s a drive that looks like WORK!

Gwen April 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm

The photos are gorgeous, but oy! the curves make me feel spinny from here.

Jenn @ Juggling Life April 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

It looks like you two were meant for each other.

the mama bird diaries April 30, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Sounds like an amazing drive. Aren’t you suppose to do those on Thursdays?

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana April 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Road slut.

And I mean that in the nicest way…I would LOVE to go on that date.

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana April 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm

That last comment sounds way harsh. Please read it with the sarcasm intended. It was much funnier in my head.

Jennifer Harvey April 30, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Holly – You made me laugh – it was perfect! And, honestly, so true. 😉

jessica April 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm

at least you had a second date. I can’t seem to get past the first one. Do you put out for those rocks? Is that what I’m doing wrong? 😉

flutter April 30, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Dude. I will take a dramamine. let’s go!

Indigo May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for sharing this adventure with us. I once went on a road that had the following signs one after another, Dip, Bump, Curve and after that was the narrowest mtn road I think I’ve ever been on that wound up and up. I’ve never been able to find that road again, but yeah…flat roads are NOT the same. (Hugs)Indigo

Hilary May 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Sounds like you and that road were made for each other. Fun stuff. 🙂

phd in yogurtry May 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm

That’s some beautiful terrain. Thanks for the pics, and yes, the blackberry is doing quite nicely.

Auds at Barking Mad May 4, 2009 at 5:12 am

This reminds me of some of the drives up through the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains I used to take with our trusty Jeep, back in day when we lived in So Cal.

Thanks for the road trip! It brought back some wonderful memories of days gone by.

And yeah, the crackberry is a nice standin for a camera. My hubby loves his.

Bruce May 4, 2009 at 11:17 am

After looking at these pictures, I needs me a road trip really bad…….I am starting to get Phoenix-phobia……

(I bet the lost stuffed Havalina has your camera)

Cath May 5, 2009 at 10:03 am

That was beautiful. Is beautiful. Wow. The open road and that open countryside and the quiet but for nature…

Thank you for sharing. And sorry I haven’t been over in ages – I am off to see the post below now which I think I should have seen before.

And while I am at it, can I please use my bare faced cheek (after not visiting for so long) to ask you to come over and read the post “Memes” ‘cos I want you to know who I am next time we meet… Thanks. 🙂

JCK May 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I love how you take us with you…

Natalie May 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm

I’m always excited to see someone show AZ’s true beauty. I’ve lived here for twelve years and I’m just starting to grasp that those views are only a small drive from my doorstep.

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